Last week at the Isha Yoga Center marked the closing of the 21-day Hatha Yoga Program. Here’s a peek at how things unfolded.

Last week at the Isha Yoga Center marked the closing of the 21-day Hatha Yoga Program. Over 330 participants from around the world – including India, China, US, UK and more – followed an intensive and rigorous schedule of sessions, which lasted throughout their three week stay.

Many of the program participants were attending their first yoga program, and some were surprised to discover that the program would not be all about relaxation. Intense sessions of physical sadhana were conducted each day, and a variety of activities were packed into each moment from early morning till late in the evening.

As days passed by, I saw changes happening within me. I no longer craved for tea or meals, and I feel so rejuvenated!

Reema, who attended the program to rejuvenate and get her life back on track shared that though she found the going difficult initially, she soon found her rhythm. “As we started with the practices, I found it difficult and confusing to get into the correct postures and follow the instructions, but the teachers were very supportive and made sure to correct repeatedly. Initially I found the schedule quite challenging – no morning tea, no four meals in the day… this made me feel homesick. As days passed by, I saw changes happening within me. I no longer craved for tea or meals, and I feel so rejuvenated!” Noticeable results were quick to manifest for most others too, which led to a number of smiling, glowing faces among the participants. The stay and food arrangements came in for praise too, and as Reema said, “The overall experience of the ashram is simply amazing. The food is simple and wholesome and the stay arrangements are excellent.”

Over the course of the 21 days, participants were initiated into several practices including Upa Yoga, Surya Kriya, Angamardana, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi. Participants were moved by the experience of Bhakti Sadhana, a simple yet overwhelming practice that awakens the sweetness of devotion. They also had the opportunity to experience Nada Yoga as well as powerful meditation processes.

Yvonne, who was at the ashram for the first time said, “On the first day of practices, it felt as if energy pathways were becoming activated in my body. My body feels much more alive, as if it knows this is what it should feel like. It feels good! The reason for taking the program was to help me go deeper into meditation and I think it has helped in this direction a lot.”

Swati, a participant who had combined the program with an additional stay of a few days expressed her surprise at going from a “no-yoga person” to a “yoga-for-life” person.

Sessions were held in the Adiyogi Alayam, specifically designed and consecrated by Sadhguru to be conducive for the practice of Hatha Yoga. Many Hatha Yoga teachers from the most recent Teacher Training Program actively taught during the program, and also offered practice corrections and other support throughout the 21 days. Participants spent time in the Dhyanalinga and Linga Bhairavi and experienced the benefits of the Theerthakunds, the consecrated water bodies. As a special addition to the program, participants were able to join training sessions to offer yoga to others on the upcoming International Day of Yoga.

The large, diverse group underwent the entire program in a joyful and graceful manner, growing and blossoming into a more balanced and blissful way of being. Each and every aspect of the program was designed to orient participants such that life can find its full expression.

Swati, a participant who had combined the program with an additional stay of a few days expressed her surprise at going from a “no-yoga person” to a “yoga-for-life” person: “I was not at all a yoga person. Before coming to the Isha Yoga Center, I would always find an excuse to skip and not do yoga. But a stay at the Isha Yoga Center, followed by this 21-day program, has transformed me in many ways. This course is very inspirational. Yoga just happened to me. I never knew I was this flexible and that I could mould into various asanas so comfortably as I am experiencing today. One thing that I have decided is that I will keep practicing yoga till my last breath.”

Editor’s Note: The 21-day Isha Hatha Yoga program is conducted once every year at the Isha Yoga Center. More information at ishayoga.org & info@ishahatayoga.com.